Beach Replenishment Moving Westward - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Beach Replenishment Moving Westward

The beach replenishment project began in early October. Work on restoring the sand is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"They started down in East Biloxi area. Right now they have everything from basically the Beau Rivage area west to Briarfield, which is just a little west of the coliseum," said beach director Bobby Weaver.

An offshore dredge scrapes the sand from the bottom of the Mississippi Sound.

"We have areas offshore that we've identified that have an adequate supply of sand that would be suitable to place on the beach, so the contractor has those burrow sites identified."

The sand slurry mixture that pours from the pipes isn't very appealing. But given time, it will be transformed.

"With the mixture of the water and some of the silt in there, it's kind of a grayish appearance. But as you can see behind where they've already worked, it bleaches out quite nicely and presents a beautiful beach," says Weaver.

Seagulls and other shore birds don't mind the nasty appearance. For them, the mixture is a 24 hour buffet of small fish and other sea life.

The project is not only heavy equipment dependent, it is also high tech. A GPS guides the offshore dredge to the proper sand deposits, while onshore an electronic survey device makes certain the grade of the new beach is just right. It sends a signal to the bulldozer which is leveling the sand.

Workers take care of maintenance on the large steel pipes and heavy machinery. The project is steadily making progress.

"They're continuing west. They'll go all the way to Henderson Point," says Weaver.

The sand replenishment work should be finished by May or June, just in time for the busy beach season.

The beach work includes more than just replenishing the sand. Crews will also be replacing storm-damaged drain pipes and equipment ramps. A separate project will involve the planting of dune vegetation along the beach.

By Steve Phillips

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